Africa: UNICEF issuing US$100,000 to startups through cryptocurrencies

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  • Startups will receive crypto worth US$100,000 each from UNICEF’s Cryptofund
  • Cryptofund is part of UNICEF’s innovation fund, which allows the organization to hold, receive and disburse funds in cryptocurrency
  • Startups registered in 190 countries and have an operational, open-source blockchain prototype or are willing to make their startup open source are eligible to get the fund.
  • The deadline for application is March 8, 2022, and each qualified 

The UNICEF Venture Fund, in partnership with Giga (an Internet connection initiative), is calling for Blockchain-based software solutions for capacity building and community empowerment.

The collaboration is looking to make up to US$100,000 equity-free investment in cryptocurrency to provide early-stage seed funding and mentoring programs to profit-oriented technology startups that have the potential to benefit the larger population.

The applicants for the fund will receive the funding in cryptocurrency, either in bitcoin or ether, through UNICEF’s recently launched CryptoFund.

Read: Sweden boosts UNICEF healthcare services in Uganda

UNICEF’s CryptoFund

Unicef launches the CryptoFund. [Photo/HedgeThink]
Cryptofund is part of UNICEF’s innovation fund, which allows the organization to hold, receive and disburse funds in cryptocurrency. The CryptoFund is a pooled fund of bitcoin and ether, distributed only in crypto, targeting to create visibility and transparency accounting to donation distribution and investment processes.

CyrptoFund will facilitate startups registered in UNICEF’s 190 programme countries as a prototype Fund that seeks to explore the use of digital currencies in these countries. Forty-one of the nations are African.

Startups registered in the 190 countries and have an operational, open-source blockchain prototype or are willing to make their startup open source are eligible to get the fund.

How do startups register for the CryptoFund?

UNICEF encourages more women founders to apply as the foundation targets to uplift women in business. For startups new to crypto, UNICEF provides a step by step process for setting up crypto wallets through their email at venturefund@unicef.org.

The deadline for application is March 8, 2022, and each qualified startup will receive crypto worth US$100,000 each. UNICEF also advises applicants to state their country’s legislation for holding cryptocurrencies as part of their application process.

UNICEF targets to combat challenges children and youth face through blockchain technology.

The Coronavirus pandemic came with hard-hit economic hardships that have had compounding effects on many children’s way of life.

Read: Airtel Africa and UNICEF in a US$57mn partnership to scale-up digital learning.

In countries where internet penetration and technological advancement have taken root, education, healthcare, and financial and social protection services continue online. Many African countries, where internet penetration is shallow, could not access these digital services and excluded them from the opportunity to realize their potential fully.

UNICEF to issue $100k to eligible startups through the CryptoFund. [Photo/PiblishOx]
UNICEF has taken the initiative through their office of Innovation to explore technologies such as blockchain that can impact young people and children globally, providing them opportunities, information and choice.

UNICEF believes that blockchain technology would help to:

  • Create greater transparency and efficiency in systems.
  • Involve and engage the community in decision making, a platform that is hardly offered by the traditional systems and technologies.
  • Better coordinate data across multiple parties, consequently improving their relationships and workability.

The organization seeks blockchain solutions that can address challenges facing the youth, climate change, education and humanitarian portfolios. These portfolio focus areas prioritize solutions that improve accountability on service delivery and policies, grow and improve funding flows, empower and actively engage young people, and improve equity in access to connectivity and the modern digital world.

UNICEF seeks to invest in companies developing blockchain-based software solutions using cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and various types of tokens and learning and training initiatives to build capacity.

Areas of interest that UNICEF is keen on exploring, but are not limited to include:

  • Improving accountability and transparency of services and payments. Blockchain technology can build transparent, efficient systems to exchange value, track supply chains and trade commodities.  
  • New financing models and rewards. UNICEF is using cryptocurrencies to increase investments to create new marketplaces and economies.
  • Empower young people to engage actively in these new systems.

Read: European Investment Bank and UNICEF partnership

I am a journalist who is an enthusiastic tech, business and investment news writer from across Africa. There is always something good happening in Africa but most gets lost in the stereotypes. I tell the stories that matter to the Africans for Africa. Have a tip? You can contact me at j.kangethe@theexchange.africa

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